What is Cantaloupe?
Cantaloupe are wonderfully delicious and unique musky-flavored and a member in the large Cucurbitaceae family. cantaloupe thought to have originated either from India or ancient Persia or Africa. They grow best on well-draining sandy soil with good irrigation facility, and require honeybees for effective pollination. Melons, just as mangoes, watermelon…etc., are actually summer season fruits. cantaloupe are round or oblong shape, measure 4.5- 6.5 inches in diameter and weigh 450 – 850 gm, oftentimes more than a kilo. Internally, its flesh color ranges from orange-yellow to salmon, has soft consistency and juicy texture with a sweet, musky aroma that emanates best in the completely ripe fruits. At its center, there is a hollow cavity filled with small off-white color seeds encased in a web of mucilaginous netting.
Health Benefits of Cantaloupe
Eye Health: The fruit is an excellent source of Vitamin A, (100 g provides 3382 IU or about 112% of recommended daily levels) one of the highest among cucurbita fruits. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant and is essential for healthy vision. the antioxidant zeaxanthin, found in cantaloupe, filters out harmful blue light rays and is thought to play a protective role in eye health and possibly ward off damage from macular degeneration. It is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin.
Stress and Anxiety: Potassium is one of the essential nutrients found in cantaloupes, and it has been connected to being a vasodilator, which means that it relaxes the blood vessels and reduces blood pressure. Excited levels of blood pressure can act as a stressor on the body, and can even induce the release of stress hormones like cortisol. Potassium also increases the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain, which induces a calming sensation and a more relaxed attitude. Plus, reducing the presence of stress hormones in the body can seriously reduce symptoms of anxiety.
Arthritis: The phytochemicals that we spoke about earlier also have anti-inflammatory qualities. This means that having a proper amount of cantaloupe in your diet can help prevent oxidative stress on your joints and bones, thereby reducing inflammation.
Immune System Booster: Cantaloupes not only have the beta-carotene and phytochemicals working in its favor against free radicals, but also a healthy dose of vitamin-C. Vitamin C similarly scavenges disease-causing free radicals and act as an important line of defense for a healthy immune system. Also, vitamin-C stimulates the production of white blood cells, which seek out and destroy dangerous bacteria, viruses, and other toxic substances of foreign bodies that may have found their way into our bloodstream. Cantaloupes are extremely powerful boosters for the immune system for these reasons and more.
Cancer Prevention: Cantaloupes are rich sources of beneficial nutrients, including beta-Carotene, an essential carotenoid that the body requires. It is not only a precursor to vitamin-A, which we will discuss shortly, but it also has been shown to act as a powerful antioxidant. It has been linked to reduced chances of a number of different types of cancer, and the phytochemicals present in fresh fruit like cantaloupes have also been linked to anti-tumor behavior. Overall, the nutritional content of cantaloupes is a powerful tool in the prevention of cancer and the eradication of free radicals, the harmful byproducts of cell metabolism that can lead to a number of dangerous conditions, including heart disease and cancer.
Healthy Skin: Cantaloupes are wonderful places to find beta-carotene, which is the precursor to vitamin-A. The best part about dietary beta-carotene, instead of supplements, is that there is no chance for overdose or vitamin-A toxicity, because the body only converts as much as it needs; the rest remains as beta-carotene to fight diseases as antioxidants. But the amount that turns into vitamin-A enters the skin and stimulates the membrane of skin cells and increasing regrowth and repair. This protects that membrane into the body against harmful toxins that prematurely age the skin. Vitamin-A cream is also used as a salve for irritation and redness on the skin, due to its naturally soothing qualities.
Menstruation: Cantaloupe juice is very effective in regulating menstrual flow and preventing menstrual cramps in women. It considerably reduces the flow and blood clotting, inducing menstruation. Cantaloupe is good for menstrual cramps and associated with anti-coagulant properties. It helps to ease cramps by dissolving clots.
Lung health: Cantaloupe is very useful for improving lung health. The nutrients present in cantaloupe provide a synergistic combination, which helps to recover from nicotine withdrawal in people who are trying to quit smoking. Cantaloupe juice also replenishes the body from the depleted Vitamin A in a smoker
Nutritional value of Cantaloupe
Raw cantaloupe is 90% water, 8% carbohydrates, 0.8% protein and 0.3% fat, providing 140 kJ (34 kcal) and 2020 μg of the provitamin A orange carotenoid, beta-carotene per 100 grams. Fresh cantaloupe is an excellent source (20% or more of the Daily Value or DV) of vitamin C (44% DV) and vitamin A (21% DV), with other nutrients in negligible amounts (less than 10% DV)